A Google Expert’s Checklist
“This website doesn’t load fast enough.”
“This website has duplicate content.”
“It needs quality content before Google will begin listing this site in Search.”
“Your site has a bunch of issues.”
“The Google listing for your business is all wrong.”
The phone rings. It’s an SEO expert with a laundry list of problems you’ve never even heard of before. The person on the other end is telling you everything is wrong about your SEO, Google listing of website. These self-proclaimed SEO experts say your website isn’t quality enough to rank in Google.
Most business owners have gotten this call (or email) many times. How do you know if they’re telling you the truth? What’s the most objective way to test what your website actually needs? With so many claims and so many different companies offering different solutions, how can you make the best decision for your business?
First, let’s start with understanding how exactly a website is considered quality.
The question that should first come to mind is: who? Who determines if my website is quality. And what criteria do they use?
Once you can answer who, you’ll know exactly what to do next.
The simple answer is: Google.
Google determines whether your website is quality enough to rank highly for the kinds of search terms that are supposed to show your website.
This criteria is open to the public, thanks to Google (for all intensive purposes). Google wants you to know how to become a quality website. It’s how they make their living. They work really, really hard to create updates (more 600 times a year their algorithm is updated!) to ensure the best websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). In order to become a quality website and rank well, it’s best to master the criteria determined by Google technicians, and the algorithms in place, themselves.
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- How much quality control is done on content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Find Common Problems
As a business, if you’re able to answer these questions to the best of your ability and apply them to your website, you’ll win. There’s no question about it. We believe the first step is honestly looking at problems. Duplicate content, lack of listings (links to your site) on social or third-party websites like Foursquare or Google Plus, incorrect information, Google Maps inaccuracies and broken links are the kind of common problems many websites need to fix in order to achieve high quality status. Expio can help generate a report designed to analyze your website. We use webmaster tools from Google and Moz Pro to generate assessments. Click here to request an assessment.
Ongoing SEO Upgrades via Blogging
Now, your “defense” is established. You know the problems you have, and you’re dealing with them. But what about an offense? If there’s one thing that consistently accomplishes the checklist outlined above, it’s blogging. Blogging on a regularl basis with useful, thorough and professional content that matches the criteria above will give Google the fuel it needs recognize you as a high-quality website.
Becoming an “authority” in the content world will increase Google’s quality score for your website. This is achieved with good, hard and creative work. There’s not secret here. It takes an intensely focused effort to write, and design content to achieve authoritative status. We recommend beginning the blogging process with our help. Our blogging package includes once/week blogs that highlight the major services or products your business offers.
Start today. Begin brainstorming how content creation can work within your organization. Be honest with yourselves about how limited your time, resources and creativity truly are. Then, decide how important it is to reach quality status on your website. At first, it may feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. But, the long-term investment will surely pay off. The data speaks for itself.
The Search Industry is growing, really growing. Companies that blog are 13x more likely to generate a positive marketing ROI (Source).